Thanks to the Madison Development Corporation, entrepreneurs who have few assets and little start-up capital have a place to go for loans.
Waunakee resident Lorrie K. Heinemann, president of the MDC, described that organization’s work at the June 29 Waunakee Rotary meeting.
Lorrie and her husband, Jack Heinemann, moved to Waunakee in 2007. They wanted to live in a small town with three key components – quality schools, nice housing and close proximity to Madison.
Lorrie formerly served under former Gov. Jim Doyle as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. She loves ensuring access to capital, she said.
MDC formed in 1977 and used a development community block grant to set aside funds for companies that couldn’t find loans from banks or other traditional sources. MDC provides both affordable housing and capital for hard-to-finance businesses.
The housing component provides apartments. To be affordable, housing should consume 30 percent of a person’s income. In Dane County, the average household income is $80,000. MDC builds quality housing for those in the workforce with annual incomes of $24,000 to $64,000 per year. If the majority of the units are rented, MDC receives tax-exempt status, Lorrie said.
One example is the Avenue, a 28-unit building with two-bedroom apartments. Some of the tenants have lived there for between 20 and 30 years, she said.
Dane Townhouses offers three-bedroom dwellings on S. Park Street. The Mifflander is in the heart of Mifflin Street and includes many amenities, including an exercise room. Some of those apartments rent at market rates, while others, including efficiencies, go for about $700 to $795 per month. The rent is based on family size and income level, Lorrie said.
The tenants include entrepreneurs, young couples and some older, retiring people. Dogs are allowed, and the neighborhood is within walking distance to the library, grocery stores and restaurants. MDC manages all of its own properties and currently has 253 units.
The business loan program has funded over 400 start-up companies in the past 40 years. Some include Nordic Consulting, Tomo Therapy, Monty’s Blue Plate Diner – now Food Fight, RP’s Pasta and Underground Meats.
Lorrie said a strong locally grown food movement is underway, and MDC wants to see these businesses do well.
The Venture Debt Fund is comprised of banks who want to pool funding to help companies. It’s helped 40 Dane County companies in the past 10 years with 4-year term loans.
In the future, MDC will look to partner with municipalities and local agencies to provide more quality, affordable workforce housing, Lorrie said. They will also look to grow business loan and venture debt programs to entrepreneurs and high-tech companies.
Other News:
–It was Travis Heiser’s last meeting as president, and he thanked the club for “the opportunity to lead you this past year.”
“I am humbled to have been able to lead such a great group of people,” he said.
Travis said the club brought four new members in and is 92-members strong, with many who are active and have taken charge of the Rotary Lights, Easter Egg Hunt and WaunaFest. The club also gave $68,000 back to the community in the last year.
Travis especially thanked Tyler Endres and David Weishoff for their participation in just about every project over the past year.
Thanks, Travis, for your leadership.  
–The Pontoon Ride will be on Lake Mendota this year and depart from either the Nau-Ti-Gal or the Mariner’s. In future years, the club may consider a Betty Lou Cruise.
–Randy Guttenberg said the Youth Exchange committee is seeking host families for a 16-year-old boy from France.  
Guests: Breck Dokken, guest of Rex Endres; Lauren Buxton, guest of Sean Wayne; Alaina Reeves, guest of Shelley Moffatt.
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Birthdays: July 10, Peggy Acker-Farber; July 10, Shelley Moffatt.
Anniversaries: July 9, Greg and Kristin Benz; July 9, David and Erica Weishoff; July 10, Gordy and Kris Meicher.
Greeters: July 6, Lori Derauf and Shana Dunn; July 13, Patrick Durden and Fritz Durst; July 20, Taylor Endres and Gary Epping; July 27, Bill Erickson and Dan Evans.